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Saltford Station Campaign News
Large attendance at Saltford station consultation event - still time to submit comments
Future-proofing transport with a lasting legacy for Saltford
It is estimated that over 500 Saltford residents attended the public consultation drop-in event on 25th February 2014 at Saltford Hall.
The event took place following SEG's request in autumn 2012 to B&NES Council to hold a village-wide consultation on the idea of reopening Saltford's railway station, that was closed in 1970, as part of the proposed Bristol Metro rail network. Council transport officers were present to answer questions from residents about the proposals.
Carefully designed and implemented, the station would be a positive asset for our village. Speaking before the event, Chris Warren, the station campaign leader said: "I am delighted that the consultation event is taking place. This is one more step forward towards the re-opening of the station. It would be crazy for half-hourly Metro West services to pass through Saltford without stopping".
B&NES are seeking views on how often residents might use the station, how they would get there (e.g. walk, bus, cycle, or drive) and what approach should be taken to manage vehicles wishing to park at the station.
B&NES have published the exhibition panels on their website at www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/parking-and-travel/transport-plans-and-policies/saltford-railway-station.
B&NES are also seeking as many completed questionnaires from Saltford's residents as possible until the deadline of 26 March - the online questionnaire is available on this web page (click on the blue "Respond online" button, top RH side of the page): www.bathnes.gov.uk/consultations/saltford-railway-station-survey (or for direct link to form click here: www.bathnes.gov.uk/consultations/39973/webform).
Once the results of the questionnaires have been collated and analysed by B&NES, a report will be produced to show the outcome of the consultation and the consultant's report. The conclusions of the report will be considered by the Cabinet in due course in order that a decision can be taken whether to fund further work on the business case for the station.
SEG's information sheet making the case for re-opening Saltford station and answering key questions/concerns can be downloaded here (word doc, opens in new window):
Latest campaign situation report (briefing)
The Saltford station campaign team's latest situation report (March 2014) brings together the recent positive developments towards getting our station re-opened. The report can be found on this page under Campaign Resources.
Saltford station campaign talks to Railfuture
On 22 February 2014 Duncan Hounsell, a spokesperson for the Saltford Station Campaign, gave a talk on the campaign and the case for re-opening the station as part of the Metro West Rail Project to the Severnside branch of Railfuture, a national independent organisation that promotes a better passenger and freight network.
Railfuture-Severnside Secretary, Nigel Bray, commented "Recent decades have seen a tremendous growth in the popularity of rail travel locally. The trends give every confidence that a station at Saltford would be a success".
Pictured at the Railfuture event below are (left to right): Nigel Bray, (Secretary, Railfuture Severnside), Cllr Dr Anthony Clarke (B&NES Council), Duncan Hounsell (Saltford Station Campaign), Cllr Neil Butters (Chair of B&NES Council) & John Hassall (Chair, Railfuture Severnside).
Saltford Station Campaigners meet Labour PPC for North East Somerset (August 2013)
Chris Warren, Duncan Hounsell and Phil Harding of our Saltford Station Campaign met Todd Foreman, Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, on 19th August 2013 to explain the case for the re-opening of Saltford Railway Station and to show him the Bath Hill site.
Duncan Hounsell said "We were delighted that Mr Foreman came to meet us. He saw for himself local trains pass by that in the future could stop at a Saltford Station to serve the local community." Todd Foreman added "I was pleased to hear first hand from the campaign leaders about their aspirations for Saltford as part of the Metro West rail project. It was a useful and interesting briefing."
All change at B&NES (May 2013)
The B&NES Cabinet member for Transport is now Cllr. Caroline Roberts who has replaced Cllr. Roger Symonds in this role. The Station Campaign Group has enjoyed a good working relationship with Cllr. Symonds and is grateful for the helpfulness and positive support he has shown for our station. Chris Warren, Duncan Hounsell and Phil Harding of the Station Campaign team met with Cllr. Roberts in Saltford on 3rd June 2013.
Metro West - Station Campaign addresses B&NES Cabinet, 10th April 2013
The webcast of the 3-minute speech by Duncan Hounsell of the Saltford Station Campaign to the B&NES Cabinet on 10th April 2013 can be found from this link (spool forward to: 2:47:48): Station Campaign address to B&NES Cabinet 10.4.2013 (2:47:48).
This is a shortened version of Duncan's speech:
"The West of England Local Transport Body (LTB) (comprising B&NES Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership) was formed in March as a prerequisite to receiving devolved major transport funding from the Department for Transport. At its meeting on 13 March 2013, it prioritised schemes against criteria of affordability, minimum cost threshold, and deliverability. The top two priorities agreed were the Greater Bristol Metro phases 1 and 2. The "new stations package" (including Saltford station) has also reached the agreed project shortlist. Construction at Saltford is estimated by the LTB to take place in the period 2018/19 to 2023/24 but earlier should other funding opportunities become available and subject to a business case. The new stations will form part of the Greater Bristol Metro project or "Metro West" as it is to be called."
"The Metro West rail project which includes Saltford Station is included in Network Rail's Business Plan for Control Period 5 (2014-2019) and Network Rail Specifications (Western). This is the first time that Metro West and a station at Saltford has appeared in public rail industry documents. A station at Saltford also appears in the "refresh" or update of the West of England Partnership's Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP3)."
"It was in June last year that B&NES Cabinet agreed a budget of £100,000 to undertake a High Level Output Assessment for Saltford Station to develop the business case and take Saltford to GRIP level 2 of Network Rail's 8-stage process for railway development. There has been a short delay in commissioning this work because of uncertainties around the awarding of the GW Rail Franchise, and changes to the Core Strategy."
"We are delighted that you are set to approve, this evening, expenditure of £124,000 as B&NES's contribution to the development of Phase 1 of the Metro West which includes half-hourly rail services for Keynsham, Oldfield Park and Bath Spa. The Saltford Station Campaign asks you to keep on-track, on time, and with green lights showing. Thank you for your support for Metro West and the re-opening of Saltford Station."
Saltford station and the new West of England Local Transport Body
On 13 March 2013 the West of England Partnership formed a Local Transport Body to receive devolved funding from the Department for Transport and ensure it is devoted to local transport improvement schemes to address the present and anticipated local transport needs of the West of England. It will agree this through an evidence based prioritisation process.
Saltford station is within the shortlisted schemes to follow the priority programme of the Greater Bristol Metro phases 1 and 2 in the 2015-2019 period. There is also the possibility that projects like our station could be brought forward; the Station Campaign team are keeping a close watch on developments.
The West of England Partnership Joint Local Transport Plan was also refreshed (updated) on 13th March and it now includes a specific reference to Saltford station. This is important as an objective of the Core Strategy (that sets the economic and planning strategy for this area's development from now until 2029) is to "Deliver well connected places accessible by sustainable means of transport" and the Joint Local Transport Plan (including proposals for the Greater Bristol Metro Scheme) is a key document within the Core Strategy.
B&NES to investigate other possible locations for a re-opened Saltford station
At the full B&NES Council meeting on 4th March 2013, the Conservative Group moved an amendment headed "Changes to Core Strategy - Land at Keynsham East" as follows:
"To request that Cabinet investigate all possible locations for a re-opened Saltford Station, including those with adequate parking facilities and which could also be accessible to residents of East Keynsham."
This amendment was accepted by the LibDem Group.
The Saltford Station Campaign, while unaware that this amendment had been tabled, was already aware of the proposition. The Station Campaign has no problem with all possible locations being considered but the focus at this time is the existing Saltford station site on Bath Hill. We feel that good access on foot for the majority of Saltford's residents is an important consideration.
The Core Strategy is the economic and planning strategy for this area's development until 2029.
Earlier station campaign news stories
Earlier news stories and pictures from the start of SEG's campaign can be found in our Campaign Archive.
Please continue to display the poster in your window to help keep the campaign in everyone's mind. If you need a fresh one contact Chris Warren or Phil Harding (see contact details on home page) - or print one off from the resources section below.
Click on these links to download (each will open in new window):-
* Illustrated paper promoting and stating the environmental, social and economic case for re-opening the station.
Campaign promotional materials
You can download from here a one page poster to print off and stick in your window:- Saltford Station - Let's bring it back! poster (pdf, opens in a new window).
Our unique Saltford station campaign mugs (£5) and car/window stickers (£1) are available from Signs of Saltford, 559 Bath Road, Saltford, Bristol BS31 3JN (Tel: 01225 874037). You can order these via the internet at: www.signsofsaltford.co.uk/station.htm or arrange to collect from Signs of Saltford during office hours (please telephone first, cash payment preferred).
Background to the campaign and strategy
39% of the respondents to the 2009 parish questionnaire, when road fuel prices were significantly lower, said they would be likely to make regular use of a rail service from a re-opened Saltford station.
Saltford station was closed in 1970 when significantly less people lived in Saltford. Early in 2011 the government announced it was going to electrify Brunel's Great Western Mainline from London Paddington through to Cardiff, i.e. a significant infrastructure project resulting in electric trains running through Bath, Keynsham and Saltford.
Saltford Environment Group saw this as a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity for Saltford that was too good to miss. Electric trains mean faster acceleration and deceleration leading to quicker timings and gaps in the timetable for re-opened stations. Electrification and the simultaneous re-signalling of the line can provide the capacity for local trains to stop at Saltford.
Saltford Environment Group felt the time was right to start a campaign to get our station back. From our observations of public statements and our own discussions with key senior members of Bath and North East Somerset Council (the leader, Paul Crossley, and the cabinet member for transport, Roger Symonds) it was clear that they shared our view too. Railways are about the future of transport, not just the past.
With the ever increasing cost of private motoring, a re-opened station gives the residents of Saltford a vital and environmentally friendly transport asset that will help 'future proof' the village against future price rises in oil and thus road fuel. Many residents commute to Bath, Bristol, London and beyond. Saltford has quite a large student population who attend universities all over the country. Many people visit the village; a railway station will give people the option to visit without using the car.
The Saltford Station Campaign team made representations to the West of England Partnership (WEP) Joint Transport Executive Committee concerning the inclusion of Saltford station in the Greater Bristol Metro project. The Greater Bristol Metro project successful bid to the Department of Transport in June 2012 included half hourly trains between Bristol and Bath and the re-opening of Saltford station.
We see the station as a real asset primarily for the local community, not a vast 'Park & Ride' arrangement although we recognise that a reasonable amount of car parking should be provided for the station to be economically viable. The design and facilities of the station will need to respect the character and environment of our village and be sensitive to the quality of life for those residents living nearby.
Saltford's residents will be able to access the station on foot as there is a comprehensive network of footpaths that the Victorians put in place when the station was opened on 12th December 1840.
At its busiest, Saltford station employed 12 porters. It would be great to have our station back serving the village community as it did once before.
An important approach for SEG with this campaign has been to maintain a dialogue with Bath and North East Somerset Council and Network Rail as well as with local politicians (Saltford Parish Council and our local MP).
Network Rail's publication "Investment in Stations - A guide for promoters and developers (May 2011)" is a framework that provides information on the principles and processes for those wishing to re-open stations on Britain's rail network and has helped guide our campaign.
Involving the active support of residents in this campaign has been crucial. In addition to working with local media and the production of promotional materials (posters, stickers etc), we organised a village petition of all households in November 2011.
The agreement by B&NES Council to be the station "promoter", to fund and engage experts to work with Network Rail and the rail operator to build the business case (a 'High Level Option Assessment') for re-opening Saltford station, was a major milestone reached in June 2012, as was the inclusion of Saltford station in the Greater Bristol Metro project at that time.
Our website provides a focal point informing all stakeholders of progress with the campaign to re-open the station. We publish our campaign news and plans on our website and regularly in the bi-monthly editions of SCAN (Saltford Commmunity Association News) that is delivered to all households.
If you want to see earlier stories from the start of the campaign including details of the petition visit our: Campaign Archive Page
Friends of Saltford station
Concerned about the environmental impact of the station once it's built?
SEG are very keen to stress that a new station built on the old station site must be sensitive to the quality of life for people living in the immediate vicinity.
We are not proposing the replacement of the existing eye-sore - currently the old station site looks like a dumping ground and regularly attracts metal thieves who turn up in vans to remove metal items stored on site - with a station that looks out of place with our beautiful village. Our archive & photo gallery for the original station (link) shows what an important part the station has played in village life in the past and we wish to see a modern re-creation of this community asset.
In addition to our wish to be actively consulted on the design of a new station, our early thoughts are that it would be beneficial to our community well-being to set up a "Friends of Saltford Station" group that can develop pride in our new station by
Members of SEG's Campaign Group have had an informal meeting (January 2012) with the Severnside Community Rail Partnership (link to their website) which works with local communities to deliver:
Once our station is built, the Severnside Community Rail Partnership will actively support a Friends of Saltford Station Group.
More thoughts and ideas on how Friends of Saltford station can become a reality will be posted on this website as they develop. Suggestions to help our thinking on this aspect are welcome.
Image copyright information. This digital image of the 1948 Nationalisation era Saltford station sign was created by and belongs to Saltford Environment Group. It should not be copied or used without the prior-permission of SEG's Station Campaign. If you wish to use it please send details of your proposed use with your request (our contact email address is on the home page).
© Saltford Environment Group
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Contact the campaign
If you wish to contact SEG about this campaign, our contact details are on our home page.
What would a re-opened Saltford Station mean to you? Here are some typical comments from villagers who replied to our petition follow-up survey of daily users (Feb/Mar 2012):
"An extra 12 hours or more a week with my son. In addition, I currently spend in excess of £60 a week on parking. My journey is so often delayed due to road congestion that I am unreliable with my employer and my family commitments."